Less than a week ago, on August 25th, 2017, several conservative evangelical leaders gathered to hammer out the Nashville Statement during the annual Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) Conference, which took place in Nashville, Tennessee this year. The Statement was a joint endeavor of the ERLC and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). Modeled after the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (CSBI), the manifesto expresses concern about homosexuality and “transgenderism,” stating: “Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be.” In response, progressive Christians have offered various alternatives, including the Denver Statement and A Liturgists Statement. I want to address the question of whether the Nashville Statement is biblical, as well as comment on progressive responses. Continue reading
Over the Christmas holiday last year, my sister and I were driving to an antique shop with teenage nieces in the back seat when she turned to me and asked, “Did you know Jen Hatmaker decided to accept gay marriage? I don’t understand her theology. Can you explain it?” I was grateful for her question and interest in a challenging topic. As a biblical scholar, who also researches sexuality, I am frequently asked what Scripture says about same-sex relationships. So, I decided to write a blog series for folk like my sister. But I also hope it will be helpful to people regardless of theological position.
UPDATE: I am happy to announce that the publisher WB Eerdmans has offered me a book contract! Since some material from my blog series will be incorporated into that book, understandably, I had to remove certain posts from the web. However, the response to my blog series was very positive. Many people found that it explained the issues in a way they had not heard before, while also being very accessible to the everyday reader. This is a book that will change the conversation on same-sex relationships.
UPDATE: My book, Scripture, Ethics, and the Possibility of Same-Sex Relationships, is hitting the shelves in October 2018. It is available for pre-order on Amazon. For more updates go to my new website at karenkeen.com. I am no longer posting at this blog site. Thanks!
Blue Babies Pink: A Southern Coming Out Story by Brett Trapp. I have read many, many books and articles on faith and sexuality, but this is the best one I have come across so far. I binge-read it. I couldn’t put it down.
The foremost scholar on ethics in ancient Israel has recently published a book on the topic entitled (unsurprisingly) Ethics in Ancient Israel. John Barton has been working in the realm of ethics and the Old Testament since his dissertation days in the 1970s. His latest book is a much needed and valuable contribution to biblical studies.
Scholarship in ethics and the Old Testament typically take one of two forms: study of Israelite ethics (descriptive) or study of the Bible for ethical application in modern faith communities (normative). The first tends to be historical in its approach and the latter theological. Some scholars see a vast chasm between Israelite and modern ethics, while others find continuity. But, even those who find continuity (such as Christopher Wright) acknowledge that Christians and Jews today do not subscribe to all of the ethical perspectives of the Israelites. This is not so much the result of modern “enlightened” thinking as a difference in cultural circumstances. This of course begs the question, what does it mean for people of faith today who turn to Scripture for ethical guidance? Barton’s latest book does not answer that question directly (his approach is descriptive), but it provides a foundation for further inquiry.